Yes, it has come to this: a survey of Quebec drivers has declared that the damage caused by bone crushing potholes can be lessened, if we just learn to learn the right way to drive with them.
As drivers know all too well, the transition from winter to spring often involves an increase in potholes and uneven surfaces across roadways. These infamous road hazards can result in significant damage to vehicles, as well as potentially causing drivers to lose control.
Quebec residents have reported this as the worst pothole season of all time, though that same report seems to be consistent across many jurisdictions.
According to a new Léger poll conducted on behalf of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, 78 per cent of Quebec drivers use the wrong techniques when approaching potholes.
”Potholes seem to have become a part of everyday life for Quebecers,” says André Parra, Regional Claims Director of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. ”At times, they seem to almost sneak up on us, but if we remain focused on the road and learn a few techniques, we can help limit significant damage to our vehicles.”
According to the Allstate Canada survey results, almost half (47 per cent*) of Quebecers say their car has been damaged by driving over a pothole. For more than half of them (53 per cent*), the repairs ranged from $101 to $500. Not surprisingly, virtually all Quebecers (96 per cent*) agree potholes are an ongoing issue.
How should we approach potholes?
When it comes to potholes, only a fifth of drivers (20 per cent*) slow down on approach, while 78 per cent resort to swerving around them. This method of avoidance is higher among drivers whose vehicles were previously damaged due to a pothole (81 per cent*). Swerving, however, is not a recommended approach as it could result in a collision with another vehicle.
“I’m not surprised to see the results of the survey. It just shows how important it is for drivers to learn how to share the road with potholes,” says Jean-Denis Quenneville, Vice President at the Québec Association of Mechanics & Tire Specialists. ”You don’t want to slam on the brakes while going over a pothole. The tires, wheels, alignment, and suspension may take on more impact, and abruptly turning the steering wheel could cause even more damage because you risk hitting other cars and causing a collision. There are a lot of factors to consider simultaneously,” he adds.
Tips to safely minimize or avoid damage from potholes
With pothole season now here, Allstate Canada offers the following safety tips.
- Keep your eyes on the road – Watch for cars ahead of you that are swerving or braking unexpectedly to prepare for potential issues ahead.
- Hold on to the steering wheel – Always use both hands so you don’t lose control of the vehicle.
- Avoid sudden or harsh braking – If you are unable to avoid a pothole, the reaction might be to suddenly hit the brakes. Don’t. It can result in more damage or loss of control. Instead, take your foot off the gas to slow down.
- Avoid turning the steering wheel abruptly – You can damage your wheels, hit other cars or cause a collision.
- Make sure tires are properly inflated – Over or underinflated tires are at higher risk of getting damaged.
- Check your vehicle regularly – Monitor if there are dents in the rims or bulges in your tires. A car that pulls one way or the other could be a sign of bigger problems.
- Report potholes – To report a pothole of any size and request roadside repairs, get in touch with your local municipal services. (in Quebec call Transports Québec at 511).